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No matter what skill level you’re at in martial arts, you can hit a point where it seems like your training is going nowhere and the improvements are few and far between. The efficiency of your body to adapt to the regular training methods is to blame for the plateaus that happen.
This is a sign that there needs to be some adjustments made in the training program and the student’s mindset. Small changes and a little effort will get progress moving again and allow the practitioner to overcome present and future plateaus.
Change up the routine
Implementing a new approach in training will stimulate the body and mind to adjust and conform to the new changes taking place. If you are more dexterous with your right side (70-90% of the world population is right-handed), take a new approach and do most of your training with your left side.
Another way to break up your training is to start from a disadvantage position or one you very rarely are in. A student in a striking discipline might want to begin cornered against the ropes and have to fight his/her way out to the center of the cage. If you are a grappling discipline, begin in a less favorable position and work on your counters and escapes.
Know the difference between Goals and Challenges
Setting achievable goals gives us something to strive for and should be incorporated into everything we want to excel at in our training. Taking on a personal challenge will make you work harder than you normally would and force you to think and act differently to achieve it. Goals are achievable whereas to fulfill a challenge may take many tries if it is reached at all.
Some examples of goals would be: knowing the detailed particulars of a certain position, drilling a technique for a large sum of repetitions, or just getting more time in training. The primary goal for students in many martial arts disciplines is to reach the rank of black belt. Setting out on a challenge could entail ranking #1 in competition, or instructing an individual to the black belt rank. A good challenge is a sure-fire way to bust through a training plateau.
Go Back to Fundamental Techniques
Taking in too much details and techniques all at once will become overwhelming and shutdown the whole learning process. Go back to the basic positions and drill the fundamentals to provide muscle memory and help you master the movement. Once you are adept at the position or move, add a few new techniques and you will find it less confusing.
Positional training is the best way to work on and absorb the specific aspect of a position. Time out the positions at 2-3 minutes intervals and concentrate on controlling that one position, whether it be standing, on the ground, or against the cage. Figuring out the details to a position will give you the options to counter or control an opponent’s move.
Don’t let plateaus frustrate or hinder your martial arts training. Changing up an established routine on a regular basis will prevent the body from adapting and help to keep your mind engaged and active. Taking a break from training should not be the only option to get your martial arts game back on track.
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